Pitchside Europe

European Match of the Weekend: Roma v Juventus

Pitchside Europe

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Francesco Totti of Roma shows his frustration in defeat to Sampdoria

Two famous sides with contrasting fortunes do battle in Italy as Roma host Juventus (Saturday 19:45 GMT).

Roma fans thought a new page had been turned when their club was taken over by the Italian-American consortium led by Thomas DiBenedetto.

But the last few years have seen coaches and players come and go while i Giallorossi continue to hover just above mediocrity.

Roma are in mid-table, 10 points behind city rivals Lazio, who find themselves in third place.

If that sounds familiar to Liverpool fans, it should – this group of investors are very tight with John Henry, while DiBenedetto is a partner in Henry’s Fenway Sports Group.

Current president James Pallotta, another Italian-American, recently said: "In these periods of transition, there will always be cases, in hindsight, we could have made different decisions but I don't intent to take those decisions just to satisfy some short-term goals.”

He had just sacked Zdenek Zeman, replacing him with assistant manager Aurelio Andreazzoli; Roma had just lost 3-1 to Sampdoria.

Transition, transition, transition – it has the ring of a real estate reality TV show, and it is not the mantra Roma fans want to repeat, having heard it following the unpopular appointment of Luis Enrique last season.

Juventus, meanwhile, couldn’t be riding higher.

Coach Antonio Conte is firmly ensconced back on his bench following a four-month ban, his team are five points clear of Napoli atop Serie A, and they have a foot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League after a 3-0 smash-and-grab win at Celtic Park.

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Serie A chance creators 2012/13

Of course Andrea Pirlo is the main man – this season he has created more chances than anyone else in Serie A (67).

But Roma’s Francesco Totti is joint-second on 64, and Eric Lamela sixth, with their side scoring a tasty 47 goals this season; Juve are on 50.

A glance at the defensive stats highlights Roma’s malaise – they have conceded 45 goals, have picked up six red cards and allowed the opposition to get twice as many shots on goal as Juve (122 to 63).

Roma have no control at the back - a combination of Zeman’s tendency to throw caution to the wind and individual indiscipline.

With a 59-year-old rookie head coach in charge, that does not look like changing soon.

Weekend European matches covered on Eurosport-Yahoo!


19:45 - Milan v Parma


19:00 - Granada v Barcelona

19:45 - Roma v Juventus


14:00 - Napoli v Sampdoria

18:00 - Real Valladolid v Atletico Madrid

19:45 - Fiorentina v Inter Milan

20:00 - Real Madrid v Rayo Vallecano

20:00 - Sochaux v Paris St Germain

Roma v Juventus: How the teams compare

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Roma v Juventus head-to-head stats 2012/13

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